[riblets] because I love them (and their name!), and a Cape-Malay-style marinade based on a traditional curried lamb-sosatie soaking sauce. Drenched in a turmeric-yellow, sharp-sweet marinade, Malay sosaties of this sort have a long and noteworthy history as one of the classics of Cape Malay cooking. The basic recipe has remained largely unchanged over at least two centuries; its pedigree is doubtless older than that, because the dish was bought to the Cape from the East during the earliest days of the slave trade. In my version of the marinade, I’ve used yoghurt in addition to a variety of wonderful spices, because this helps to tenderise the lamb ribbetjies so they are beautifully succulent when they come off the braai.”
Curried Lamb Ribbetjies with Mint Yoghurt
1.2 kg lamb Ribbetjies [riblets]
lemon wedges, to serve
For the marinade
4 T (60 ml) sunflower oil
2 onions, peeled and very finely chopped
4 cardamom pods
1 quill of cinnamon
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 T (30 ml) grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1½ t (7.5 ml) ground cumin
1 t (5 ml) ground coriander
1 t (5 ml) red chilli powder
2 t (10 ml) medium-strength curry powder
1½ t (7.5 ml) turmeric
3 T (45 ml) white wine vinegar
80 ml thick fruity chutney
1 T (15 ml) sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
milled black pepper
80 ml lemon juice (about 3 small lemons)
2 cups (500 ml) natural white yoghurt
For the dip
1 cup (250 ml) thick white Greek yoghurt
80 ml finely chopped fresh mint
80 ml finely chopped fresh coriander
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
the juice of half a lemon
salt and milled black pepper
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Fry over a medium-high flame for 5 minutes, or until the onions are golden. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, without allowing the garlic to burn. Stir in the cumin, coriander, chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric, vinegar and chutney, turn down the heat and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the sugar and water, season with pepper and simmer briskly for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then stir in the lemon juice and yoghurt. Tip the marinade into a lidded plastic or ceramic bowl, add the ribbetjies, mix well and refrigerate for 48 hours, stirring once or twice.
To make the dip, combine the yoghurt, mint, coriander, garlic and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
Season the ribbetjies with salt and braai over medium-hot coals for about 8 minutes on all four sides (half an hour in total), basting frequently with the leftover marinade. The coals should not be too hot, or the ribs will scorch: by the end of the cooking time, they should be a rich yellow gold, flecked here and there with sticky black bits. Serve hot with the yoghurt dip and lemon wedges.
For best results, marinate the ribbetjies for two to three days; 24 hours is the absolute minimum.
If you’d like a hotter marinade, add more chilli powder or chopped fresh red chillies to the marinade.
Don’t rush the cooking time: lamb ribbetjies can be quite fatty, and long cooking over medium coals will help render the fat.
These can be successfully cooked in an oven under a very hot grill, but make sure the ribbetjies are at least 20 cm below the grill, and turn them frequently.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Jane-Anne Hobbs is a food writer deluxe. Recipe developer and photographer, she has written a stunning cookbook Scrumptious, click here to read my review. Always on the look out for low carb dishes, she has latterly come up with some stunners. When she is not in her kitchen Jane-Anne runs one of South Africa’s most successful food websites and Facebook page – http://www.whatsfordinner.co.za/
CLICK HERE to go to her website.